Eleven-year-old Lucas Calley has loved playing football ever since Dad’s friend Uncle Benny introduced him to the sport. Lucas’ parents support their son’s athletic endeavors until he sustains concussions. When his parents learn about the many deaths caused by repeated concussions, they decide Lucas should quit the team. Lucas is upset, but he’s sure Uncle Benny can convince Mom and Dad to change their minds. Lucas skips school one day in September and takes the train to New York City to enlist Uncle Benny’s help.
Like Dad, Benny is a firefighter. After Dad was badly burned in a fire, Benny helped looked after the family. Dad’s skin still bears the scars from his injuries, but Lucas is most concerned about Dad’s emotional wounds. He and his father were once very close. Now Dad seems distant, as if he’s caught in the past.When Lucas arrives at Benny’s fire station in New York City, Benny is surprised to see him. To Lucas’ dismay, Benny agrees with Mom and Dad that Lucas should stop playing football before it kills him. As they’re talking, Lucas and Benny see a jet flying much too low.
Moments later, it crashes into one of the World Trade Center towers.Benny and his crew spring into action. Benny orders Lucas to wait at the fire station, because Lucas’ dad is on the way with his firefighting team. Lucas tries to call his parents while watching the smoke, dust and chaos in the streets. When he can’t reach them, he tries to make himself useful by cleaning the firehouse kitchen.
From a news report, he learns that the other tower of the World Trade Center has been hit as well. He tries to process the reporter’s suggestion that someone may have purposely crashed these planes as an attack on the United States.Lucas walks through the smoky streets, which remind him of pictures he’s seen of World War II. Stunned, horrified people are exiting buildings or being treated by medical professionals. He heads for the place where the firefighters were supposed to meet and manages to find Dad.
He and Dad help injured and stranded people on the ground as the towers begin to collapse. Lucas and Dad get out of the main area of danger, and Lucas realizes that things will never be the same.A few months later, Lucas helps coach a football team of little kids. Two of the players lost their dads in the September 11 attacks.
Even though Lucas no longer plays football, some of his old teammates have come to support him as a coach. Uncle Benny, still nursing injuries he sustained while rescuing victims, arrives to watch the game. Lucas still feels the pain of the things he saw on September 11 but realizes that time will help him once again have good days like this.